The Bamboo Wife

Trio House Press | July 2024

“‘Now I speak the truth of who I am,’ Leona Sevick declares in ‘Hapa,’ the first poem of her stunning new collection, The Bamboo Wife. The truth, as always, is complicated. These meditations on parents, children, home, and heritage reveal how we grieve damage but still manage to perpetuate it. Each poem is also an act of love, like the Easter basket Sevick creates for her son months in advance because she’s convinced her current pregnancy will kill her. Death and violence shadow the book, particularly gun violence: no one is safe, and love sometimes fails. Yet those truths make poetry’s ‘dark gift’ all the more valuable.”

–Lesley Wheeler, author of The State She’s In and Poetry’s Possible Worlds


“I was so taken with Leona Sevick’s The Bamboo Wife that I read it twice the day I received it, which has only happened to me a few times before. The speaker’s unrestrained frankness about the complexities of motherhood and womanhood, self-reliance and self-destruction, and identity, lineage, and tradition remind me of Edna Pontellier’s maw-opening observations of her interior landscape in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. Sevick’s speaker at one point asks the question, ‘When do I stop holding / everything I love / like it’s broken?’  And in another poem, the speaker, defiant and empowered, declares, ‘You’d say I can’t be / someone else’s medicine. // Watch me.’ These two emotionally charged and seemingly conflicted critiques of the manner in which one can love and care for others are at the crux of this collection. The Bamboo Wife at its core is a collection about love, love in all of its bewilderingly tender and heartbreaking ruminations.”

–Adam Vines, author of Lures and Editor of Birmingham Poetry Review